The Business Year

Pedro Pérez González


Time to Talk

President, Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production


Pedro Pérez González was born in 1964 and graduated in Economics in 1987 from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henrí­quez Ureña (UNPHU). He has been the President of the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production since July 2013.

"The business network in Santo Domingo is organized, representative, and coordinated."

How does the business network in Santo Domingo compare with the other economic areas of the Dominican Republic, and what are its strengths?

The business network in Santo Domingo is organized, representative, and coordinated. Numerous business associations that operate throughout Greater Santo Domingo organize it, and it is representative in the sense that it covers a wide range of sectors of the national economy. Umbrella organizations, such as the National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP), the Industry Association of the Dominican Republic (AIRD), the National Organization of Commercial Companies (ONEC), or our own Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production focus on particular issues in coordinating the various companies.

Who are the principal economic players in the Dominican market?

I cannot say that there are a few players that monopolize the economic activity of the country. In this country, we are approaching a genuinely democratic business environment, wherein each sector and each participant has a valid point of view and where no one is sidelined. The process of harmonizing these diverse representative organizations is enriching the business sector.

“The business network in Santo Domingo is organized, representative, and coordinated.”

Why is the development of a diversified economy important for the Dominican Republic, and how does the work of the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production fit into this objective?

A diversified economy ensures, as the old saying goes, that we don’t put all our eggs in one basket. By doing this, we can counteract the fluctuations of commercial and industrial activity. The role of the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production, and that of all the regional chambers that nationally comprise the Fedocámaras, or federation of chambers, is to have an even and balanced point of agreement for all members. These members come from every corner of the country and have businesses or companies of varying sizes from the full range of economic sectors. As such, the chambers of commerce and production, like that of Santo Domingo, become the ideal space to discuss and make proposals for public policy geared toward the sustainable development of national economic activity. Every day, we assume such responsibility either independently or by joining forces with the rest of the business sector in Santo Domingo and the country at large.

How can you encourage the private sector to contribute to economic development in Santo Domingo by participating in discussions on policy and economic strategy?

As everyone in the country recognizes, this collaboration is indispensable, without which we would become divided and end up in an endless struggle between the two sectors. Indeed, through the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production, we provide critical support and collaborate efficiently with every public sector initiative, starting, for example, with the Company Register and the SMEs program, which has recently been favored by the national authorities. Another example of this public-private collaboration is the setting up of the Single Window, through which we will reduce costs and facilitate the establishment of new companies.

What are the main business opportunities that Santo Domingo is providing to companies toward making it a hub for the Caribbean region?

The Dominican Republic is situated in a privileged and strategic geographic position in terms of the Caribbean and Central America. However, we must recognize that we haven’t made the most of our potential in this sense, perhaps because we haven’t been capable of overcoming an island mentality. However, we seem more aware of these advantages and this is evident in the major investments that have converted our ports into regional hubs. We also have examples of industries that have successfully penetrated international markets. However, our potential is much greater, and in this sense it is necessary for the public and private sectors to unite in designing and implementing a strategy that allows us to take advantage of our location.

How does the Chamber make policies that promote the diverse demands and necessities of its members?

Fundamentally, we are organized according to our respective services: the Company Register and the Single Window program, international business opportunities and related negotiations, SME services, and ensuring of the institutional sustainability of SMEs beyond simply getting set up. The latter is done by promoting the development of innovative options and opportunities in trade via technology and through administration that guarantees the efficiency and transparency of our services.

How does the Chamber help local companies to augment their market share?

There is a wide range of methods. If I were to focus on just one, I would choose creating links with external or internal companies in a way that can complement their services, requirements, and help them find clients.

What are your priorities for sustainable growth?

The current priority, in addition to the efficient management of the Single Window and the Company Register, is the development of new e-commerce projects. We are concentrating on this without neglecting the positioning of the country in international markets through negotiations and commercial agreements.

What is the outlook for 2014?

The outlook and hope for 2014 is that the Dominican economy improves for the wellbeing of the population at large and the consolidation of internal democracy. Furthermore, we always hope for a strengthening of public institutions and society.

© The Business Year – November 2013



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